11th August 2011
Leeds has announced that it intends to become the first "breastfeeding friendly" city in England, by instituting a range of programmes and measures that will hopefully get new mums in nursing bras from the get go.
Local NHS organisations with the support of Leeds City Council want to promote breastfeeding with the aim of making mums more comfortable to nurse when and where they need to.
"Although breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed a child and has huge health benefits, many mums are put off because they are made to feel uncomfortable when feeding in public," explains the local government.
As well as providing mums with support and information, the council wants to educate the local population and get them working to create an environment where breastfeeding is welcome.
"Everything we're doing is based on the experience, passion and ideas of local mums," commented the group.
"Not only does this get people involved, but it also give us the confidence that it will work – it's designed for mums, by mums!"
All council venues and NHS facilities have become breastfeeding friendly and the local government has called on businesses to show their support.
Companies have been urged to display the Breastfeeding Friendly Leeds campaign materials in their venues to let mums know they are welcome to start nursing, while businesses have been told they should train their staff to be accepting and accommodating.
Furthermore, the council said employers should teach their employees how to handle members of the public who are negative towards breastfeeding mums either vocally or "through their behaviour".
A recent study in the US found that the general public hold a bias against nursing mothers, with participants rating breastfeeding mums as less mentally capable and less likely to get a job.
Researchers at Montana State University said their results highlighted the urgent need to confront this bias and help mothers to settle into breastfeeding.